The time after the apocalypse when everything turns damn kool and kinda dusty. In the wasteland there are three basic types of people. Most common is the mutant. They have to eat human flesh to stay alive and generally have poor fashion sense. More rare is the Wasteland Warrior. They are extremely tough and have an urge to drive fast in black hotrods. Last, is the Salesman. Being subspecies to the roach, they survive the apocalypse unharmed. Salesman travel around the wasteland in motorcycles packs. They pray on drunken Wasteland Warriors, selling them car insurance. Luckily, mutants are the natural predator of salesman, so it keeps their population down.

One of the best computer RPGs ever made, published by Interplay. The spiritual ancestor of Fallout and Fallout 2. Featured a novel (at the time) tactical combat system, multiple solutions to puzzles (can we pick that lock, or do we have to smash the door with a sledgehammer?), and a copy-protection scheme known as The Book of Numbered Paragraphs.

Especially noteworthy for its extremely detailed and almost poetic (and utterly disgusting if you have a good imagination) descriptions of combat results. Sometimes, the enemy would simply die. Other times, they'd explode like a blood sausage or be reduced to a fine red mist. Turning up the verbosity all the way in the Fallout games generates similar messages.

Wasteland is a young adult novel by Francesca Lia Block, author of the popular Weetzie Bat. It is published by HarperCollins's imprint Joanna Cotler Books.

Wasteland's namesake is the T.S. Eliot poem, but it's a story of a strange sort of sibling love and also deals with the difficult theme of losing someone to suicide.

Told in Block's usual floaty poetic prose, this novel is emotional and sometimes a little draggy, but eventually it builds to a powerful conclusion. The perspective flips back and forth between tenses and characters, making it slightly confusing to read, but it all comes together.

Marina and her brother Lex have always loved each other, ever since childhood they spent all their time together and seemed to have an unusual connection. The novel flashes back on their early years sometimes but mostly it is set in the present, with Marina at age sixteen. Even though she tries to like other boys and he tries to feel something for other girls, they cannot forget one another even though they know their love is supposed to be forbidden. They have a sexual experience while somewhat intoxicated in a private, luxurious bathtub, and afterwards, Lex tries to move away from his sister, finally surprising everyone by killing himself.

Marina investigates her brother's death; she feels it couldn't possibly have been suicide. She gets to the root of the problem with the patient and caring assistance of her friend West, finally leading to some revelations about her relationship with her brother and her developing friendship with West.

Though the ending is just slightly trite and the style makes it almost too abstract to catch in one sitting, it is an enjoyable read that is sure to take its place as a favorite among Ms. Block's fans.

Francesca Lia Block

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